Each summer is filled with weekends loaded with activities for people of all ages. We have our local Chamber of Commerce, government officials and many local organizations to thank for this.
I remember when I first moved to the area in 1985, there were just a few major events — of course, one of them being the annual Coast Guard Festival.
Now we have numerous sporting events, circuses, art shows, car shows, festivals and many more events scheduled throughout the summer months. If you’re looking for summer fun, the Grand Haven area is the place to be.
A Spring Lake man would like to add one more to the local itinerary of exciting events. Jack Badgero would like to see the area host a major dog show. He said Harbor Island would be a great place to have such an event.
I met Badgero several years ago after we ran a story on some surfers who rescued his dog, Shell-B, after the canine fell into the Grand Haven channel. The story made the national news.
Badgero also writes letters to the editor in the Tribune on a regular basis.
Our paths have crossed again, as we are both regular visitors at the Spring Lake dog park.
We spend our time talking about our dogs. Badgero has a new best friend, Kala, a purebred Rottweiler. Shell-B died more than a year ago at the age of 14 ½. Badgero misses Shell-B, but Kala has filled the void well.
This past summer, Badgero entered Kala in dog shows in Holland and Muskegon. She fared well, winning a Best of Show ribbon in Muskegon as well as several other awards at both dog shows.
He has even applied to have his dog compete in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which is held in February in New York.
Badgero told me that he plans to approach city officials about his idea for a dog show.
He might be on to something. I like the idea of a local dog show. I’m sure there are plenty of other dog owners who would be interested in such a show. Our two dogs — dachshund-Chihuahua mixes — are lovable, but they bark a lot (material for another column).
When a dog show could be held and the logistics in conducting one would be something that would have to be worked out. Area officials could possibly work with the Harbor Humane Society and other dog organizations in planning such an event. Perhaps even some of the proceeds could go to various animal shelters.
“I would love to see a dog show,” Badgero emphasized. “I think it would be a big deal for the area. So many people around here have dogs.”
He doesn’t hold back on his love of dogs.
“A dog is man’s best friend,” he proudly declared.
I’ve also noticed that dogs can be a woman’s best friend as well, judging by the number of women I frequently see at the dog park.
Badgero, 63, is a familiar figure in the Grand Haven area. He often walks his dog along the Grand Haven boardwalk and spends hours each day at area dog parks. That’s quite an accomplishment for a man who lost one of his legs in a trucking accident in 1989. The Fruitport High School graduate drove a truck for 22 years and worked on ore boats.
Badgero is proud of his dog. She can perform a number of tricks. And he’s not afraid to spoil his dog. Kala tags along with Badgero almost everywhere he goes.
“If you’re going to live a good life, then your dog should, too,” he said.
A dog show in Grand Haven? Why not. The Grand Haven area is the destination for fun.
— By Len Painter, Tribune editor emeritus